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The Masthead | Local Blog

Solar Pioneer Portest Barge to be moved:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/24/15

The Solar Pioneer protest barge is being removed from its current location in Elliott Bay. The barge had permission to anchor which ended up anchoring around Seacrest Park near an area called Cove 2. The cove is home to a popular dive site which was damaged due to the anchorage of the barge. The same area is also known as giant Pacific octopus habitat.

The Coast Guard found safety violations on the barge which were being addressed and a letter was sent out from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources with concerns.

The anchor permit has expired and no word where the barge will end up.


Two Olympia Area Rowing Boats Headed to National Championships:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/23/15

The desire to push harder in practice is always linked to performance.

Both Richard Hull and Kiirsten Flynn, longtime coaches with Olympia Area Rowing, saw that gumption in their teams rowing at the recent Northwest Youth Championships.

As a result, two OAR teams – the boys four-man lightweight boat and the girls dual boat – have qualified for the USRowing Youth National Championships that will be in Sarasota, Florida, on June 12-14. View full story at Thurston Talk:



Drought puts Lewis reservoir boat ramps at risk:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/23/15

If Yale Reservoir drops another 11 feet, the boat ramp at Yale Park will not be usable. Full story at The Columbian:


Ballard Locks launches fundraiser for visitors center and fish ladder updates:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/22/15

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is asking for the community’s help with some much-needed renovations. The Corps of Engineers Foundation is launching a fundraiser to update the fish ladder, visitors center and gardens at the Locks.

The updates to the Locks are part of the Locks Master Plan, a joint project between the Corps Foundation, a national nonprofit, and Discover Your Northwest, a regional environmental nonprofit. Rich Deline, Corps Foundation founder and director, says the fish ladder is in dire need of repairs, adding that they’ll be improving the viewing area in order to make it a more educational experience for visitors. “The fish ladder is an abysmal dungeon,” Deline said. “If fish are running, people are happy. But that place is dingy – people don’t notice how bad it is.”

The foundation hopes to raise between $2-5 million for the updates and improvements. Donors will be memorialized on bricks which will be visible in the new fish ladder viewing area. Deline says they are setting up an online fundraiser which will be found on the new Locks website, and for now, donors can give to the Corps Foundation on their donation page, earmarking all funds to the Locks. The gift shop at the Locks is also accepting donations.  View full story at My


Downtown Poulsbo is getting a new museum:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/21/15

Members of the Poulsbo Historical Society board of directors pose around a restored codfish dory that is part of the collection of the new Poulsbo Maritime Heritage Museum, which will open downtown this summer. The board voted May 12 to lease the site downtown. The historical society will continue to operate the Poulsbo Historical Museum in City Hall. View full story here at The North Kitsap Herald.


Top 10 Best Citys for Boaters from Redfin:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/21/15

Seattle came in 9th but we all know it's the best! View full report here at the Palm Beach Post:


US Coast Guard releases 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics Report:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/13/15

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday released its 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, revealing boating fatalities that year totaled 610, the second-lowest number of yearly boating fatalities on record.

From 2013 to 2014, deaths increased from 560 to 610, an 8.9 percent increase, injuries increased from 2,620 to 2,678, a 2.2 percent increase and the total number of accidents increased from 4,062 to ...4,064, a 0.05 percent increase. Even with these increases as compared to the record low year of 2013, 2012 to 2014 collectively set record lows for accidents, deaths and injuries.

The fatality rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 10.6 percent increase from the previous year's rate of 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Property damage totaled approximately $39 million. View full report here.


Narrows Marina has closed the boat launch to the public - installs permanent gate limiting access to boat ramp:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/12/15

A new gate blocks access to the Narrows Marina boat ramp in Tacoma where at least seven people have died in nearly two decades, including one man last month.  The boat launch was previously open to the public but is now available to staff and tenants by appointment only.

The metal gate is supported by two cement pillars on each side and has a padlock. A large red and black sign mounted on the gate reads “No trespassing public boat ramp closed.”

Scott Wagner, co-owner of Narrows Marina LLC, told The News Tribune Monday that the boat launch is only available to people who already moor their boats at the marina. The general public won’t be able to pay to use the facility, he said. View full story at The News Tribune.


LAKE WASHINGTON – SR-520 Special Bridge Notice:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/12/15

Critical Navigation Notice - U.S.C.G. 13TH DIST.

From 0600 to 1800 11 May 15 through 15 May 15, the east navigation channel of the SR 520 Floating Bridge will be obstructed. The DB Pacific, a floating crane barge and a material barge will be working within the channel to remove the temporary trestle and ramp. Approximately half of the existing channel will be available for passage of vessels. If additional clearance is required for safe passage mariners can contact tugboat Big Eagle on VHF-FM ch. 16 and shifting the DB Pacific and material barge out of the channel can be arranged. During this time, vessels of less  than 45 feet in height can continue to navigate through the west navigation channel as an alternative.


‘Frog Prince’ makes debut on South Whidbey:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/07/15

A maritime marvel literally unfolded before a crowd at Lone Lake.

Gathering at the public boat launch - about 50 people watched as Freeland boatwright Brad Rice revealed his latest creation: a 52-foot powerboat that folds up to fit into a 20-foot shipping container. Built to ply the canals of Europe, the one-of-kind but uncompleted vessel was successfully soft-launched into the lake and made several zooming passes before the group o...f obviously impressed onlookers.

The vessel folds into a unrecognizable white cube with the aid of two wooden masts powered by an electric winch. The stern is lifted up and rests on top of the cabin, and the bow — made of two pieces — splits in half and swings back flush with the sides. Dubbed the “Frog Prince,”
View full story at Whidbey News-Times.


Drought means Lake Tapps could remain dry all summer:

by Northwest Boating Information on 05/07/15

LAKE TAPPS, Wash. -- Homeowners and businesses around Lake Tapps are bracing for the very real possibility the lake won't be filled this summer.

The lake was emptied for repairs, but the drought has put the summer boating season in jeopardy.

It is a stark landscape -- Lake Tapps with little water in it and refilling way too slowly.

"The problem is we need billions of gallons of water, not just a little bit," said Joe Mickelson of Cascade Water Alliance.

The White River is the source of Lake Tapps water, and it's running at a third of normal due to the drought. And to protect the fish, only a percentage of water can be diverted into the flume that feeds Lake Tapps.

The docks are really sagging and in order to make the lake safe for boating it really has to come up another 10 feet and there's a very real possibility that may not happen this year.

"We were doing really good filling the lake and the weather dried up," Mickelson said.

Jon Flinchbaugh, owner of Northwest Marine and Ski at Lake Tapps, depends on the recreational boating season.

"I'm a little concerned," Flinchbaugh said. "We're just keeping our fingers crossed that we get some rain."

And what will happen without boating this year? View full story at KOMO.


Notice to Mariners regarding the US Open at Chambers Bay - WK 17-15 Edition

by Northwest Boating Information on 04/30/15

The U.S. Coast Guard will establish a temporary security zone for the U.S. Open Golf Championship at Chambers Bay Golf Course in South Puget Sound, University Place, WA, from 14 Jun 15 through 22 Jun 15. This action is necessary to ensure the safety and security of participants, spectators, and event officials at the U.S. Open Golf Championship, and will do so by prohibiting any person or vessel ...from entering or remaining in the security zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or his designated representative.

The temporary security zone will be established on all waters encompassed by the following points:

47-12-50.000N 122-35-25.000W
47-11-14.000N 122-35-50.000W
47-11-14.000N 122-35-03.000W
47-12-49.000N 122-34-39.000W

Interested parties may view this Final Rule (Docket number USCG-2014-1075) by visiting:


Update on abandoned sailboat which washed ashore in Mukilteo last week:

by Northwest Boating Information on 04/30/15

MUKILTEO, Wash. —  An abandoned sailboat that sank in Mukilteo is finally being cleaned up at taxpayers’ expense....

Quick Facts:
•Sailboat beached at Lighthouse Park last week
•Owner did not recover boat
•Divers will use inflatable bags to raise the boat
•Taxpayers foot bill for recovering derelict vessels

Overnight, divers prepared to raise the 20-foot sailboat that has been abandoned at the boat launch at Lighthouse Park.

Timing was critical for the effort. The work started in the middle of the night at high tide because divers wanted the abandoned sailboat in as much water as possible, to get under it and place lift bags under the hull of the boat.

Once the bags are in position, they will be filled with air to lift the vessel.

When the boat is raised to the surface, crews will need to inspect the sailboat before towing it to the Port of Everett, where it will be stored for 30 days and then auctioned, scrapped or sold for salvage. View full story with video at KIRO News:


Busy Lake Union could soon get a Seaplane Landing Strip:

by Northwest Boating Information on 04/09/15

SEATTLE -- A proposal for a "landing strip" on the water could soon make it safer for seaplanes and boats to share space on Seattle's Lake Union.

For decades, seaplane pilots have been tasked with finding a clear spot in the water to land. They're good at it, but an ever-busier lake increases the changes of an accident.

Now some say it's time to implement a system that lets people know when and where the planes will land.

On a busy day, Lake Union can see 50 takes offs and 50 landings. And those pilots use the same water as boaters, kayakers and swimmers.

"It gets pretty crazy. You have to be careful," said kayaker Lori Mardis.

When Mardis paddles out onto the lake on a busy summer day, her impression is that planes sometimes land a little too close for comfort.

"You can see some crossing of paths," she said. "I think it's more with the larger boats and kayakers that aren't paying attention."

In 2011 an amateur photographer documented a close call between a Kenmore Air float plane on approach and a jet skier who drove into its path. Nobody was hurt, but the near-crash added urgency to a proposal to add a dedicated aircraft lane on the water.

"We're just trying to create some more organization to the lake because the lake has gotten a lot busier," said Kenmore Air president Todd Banks.

Banks said he's waiting for government approval for a landing/takeoff strip that would be marked by eight buoys with signs a pilot could activate from the cockpit.

"The lights will flash, letting boaters and kayakers and paddle boarders know that there going to be an operation," Banks said.

Banks said the entire system would cost roughly $80,000.

The City of Seattle is working to get all the necessary permits from the Coast Guard, Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies to make the water landing lane a reality. There's no timeline for when it will be implemented. Source: KOMO News.


Want to watch US Open from Puget Sound? Better bring binoculars:

by Northwest Boating Information on 04/08/15

Traveling by boat along the shore of Chambers Bay golf course might sound like a good way to catch a glimpse of the U.S. Open without fighting the crowds, but don’t count on getting anywhere near the action.

The Coast Guard and Pierce County Sheriff’s Department are preparing a security plan that will bar all boat traffic within 1,000 yards of shore during the nationally televised golf tournament, according to a... draft rule published by the Coast Guard.

It’s part of the overall security plan meant to protect the Open’s projected 65,000 daily visitors from “potential criminal and terrorist activity.” USGA and law enforcement officials have not released the security plan, but some pieces have come to light such as parking restrictions and a ban on drone aircraft around the course.

Read full story below at here at The News Tribune:

On a side note, the USCG will be releases detailed information soon through USCG District 13 Notice to Mariners.


Gig Harbor has a new downtown grocery store:

by Northwest Boating Information on 03/21/15

Here’s some good news Gig Harbor residents and boaters who have been longing for a grocery store downtown — Harbor General Store will officially open its doors April 11 on Pioneer Way, just half a block from the waterfront.

The combination grocery store/deli was open for business before that date, but until the April 11 grand opening, it was still something of a work in progress, according to owner Stephanie Sagle. View full story at Kitsap Sun.


New water taxi MV Sally Fox will be dedicated March 28 at Vashon terminal:

by Northwest Boating Information on 03/20/15

King County is about to deliver a new addition to Vashon Island. She’s sleek, sturdy and stretches more than 100 feet. She’s high-tech, highly efficient - yet lightweight. And even though she’s young, she’ll have no problem replacing the Melissa Ann when she brings state-of the-art passenger-only ferry service to the island.

King County and Vashon Island will officially welcome the M.V. Sally Fox to th...eir water taxi family at 1 p.m. Saturday March 28. The celebration and vessel dedication, hosted by King County Executive Dow Constantine and other dignitaries, will be held at the Vashon Island Water Taxi Dock. The dedication will be followed by refreshments, music and free rides on the Sally Fox until 4 p.m.

The Sally Fox is expected to be placed into active service in early April after a thorough crew familiarization and training program has been completed. The vessel is expected to arrive in Seattle today with training in Elliott Bay beginning as early as Monday and continuing over the next several weeks.

The M.V. Sally Fox is one of two new catamarans replacing the Melissa Ann and Rachel Marie – 27 year-old leased boats that have been operating from Vashon Island and West Seattle to downtown Seattle since 2010. A third vessel, the Spirit of Kingston, will remain part of the county’s water taxi fleet. View full story at West Seattle Herald.


Kidde Recalls Disposable Plastic Fire Extinguishers Due to Failure to Discharge:

by Northwest Boating Information on 03/20/15

Recall Summary - Name of product: Kidde plastic valve disposable fire extinguishers

Hazard: A faulty valve component can cause the disposable fire extinguishers not to fully discharge when the lever is repeatedly pressed and released during a fire emergency, posing a risk of injury.

Units; About 4.6 million units in the U.S. and 175,000 in Canada

This recall involves 31 models of Kidde disposable fire extinguishers with Zytel® black plastic valves. The recalled extinguishers are red, white or silver and are either ABC or BC rated. The ratings can be found to the right of the nameplate. Manufacture dates included in the recall are July 23, 2013 through October 15, 2014. A 10-digit date code is stamped on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom. View more infromation here including model numbers recalled.View more infromation below including model numbers recalled.


Boater rescued from chilly Hood Canal waters:

by Northwest Boating Information on 03/19/15

An important reminder for wearing a lifejacket.

On March 18th- A boater who had been on Hood Canal in a small aluminum boat was lucky to get a bit of help after observant citizens plucked him from the cold water March 18.

According to Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, someone called 911 to report a possible boat adrift and a boater having problem on Hood Canal near the area of NW Rhoda Lane at 4:08 p.m.

The caller and his brother hopped in their own boat to investigate. They found the small aluminum boat, but it was empty.

At this time the caller had been contacted by Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue's duty chief. The duty chief advised the caller to travel back to the original location where the boater had been sighted. The caller and his brother returned to that area, approximately three quarters of a mile away, and found the boater in the cold water.

The boater was not wearing a life jacket and it was estimated he had been in the water for approximately 30 minutes. The brothers pulled him into their boat and took him to the boat launch on Misery Point where a CKFR medic unit was waiting.

The United States Coast Guard had also sent a helicopter to the area to aid in the search.

As the weather continues to get nicer and people get out onto the water more often, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue reminds everyone to wear a life jacket when out on any type of watercraft.  Source: Central Kitsap Reporter


Two People Swim to Safety After Tug Boat Sinks Off B.C. Coast - in the Straights of Georgia:

by Northwest Boating Information on 03/19/15

Having just enough time to abandon their quickly sinking tug boat in the Georgia Straight, two people swam to the safety of a nearby Island.

According to Jeff Olsson, the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinator for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria, the vessel sank a little after 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon near Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast....
Concerned citizens on the coast line noticed the sinking tug and notified the coast guard.

Olsson said the tug was sinking so quickly that the two people on board didn’t have enough time to call for help.

The two people abandoned the tug and swam to Merry Island where a lighthouse keeper kept them warm while they awaited medical attention.View full story at


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